Timeline of encyclopedias

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This is a timeline of encyclopedias, attempting to describe the emergence of these reference works, as well as related publications, such as dictionaries, though to a minor extent.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

  • What types of publications are described in this timeline?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Subject/type".
    • You will see a variety of types, including:
      • General knowledge encyclopedias, which contain information on a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to history, science, arts, geography, and culture. Their purpose is to provide users with general information and knowledge on a diverse range of topics in a systematic and organized manner. The format of a general knowledge encyclopedia may vary, including print books, online websites, or databases.
      • Leishus, which are ancient Chinese encyclopedias that served as a type of compendium or reference book for scholars and officials. They were compiled during the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) and continued to be produced until the end of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
      • Miscellanea, which is often used to refer to a collection of texts or pieces of information that are too diverse or too trivial to be included in a more structured work like an encyclopedia.
      • Specific content encyclopedias, which provide authoritative information on a particular subject.
      • Dictionaries, which are not encyclopedias but are related in the sense that both provide information.
  • What languages dominated the production of encyclopedias throughout history?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Language".
    • You will see a number of ancient works in some languages such as Greek, with Latin dominating most medieval encyclopedias. You will also see an abundance of French, German, and English encyclopedias towards the 18th century, when encyclopedias become popular in many European countries as a means of disseminating knowledge and promoting the values of the Enlightenment.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
First 500,000 years of humanity Early period Most of the knowledge that humans gained during this period would be lost, with over 99% of human history being forgotten. This is largely due to the fact that early humans do not have effective ways to preserve and record their knowledge.[1]:3 However, the development of encyclopedias can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as China and the Middle East. In China, one of the earliest forms of encyclopedias is the leishu, which literally means "categorized writings." The leishu are collections of knowledge on various topics, such as history, literature, medicine, and science, and are first compiled during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Another early example of an encyclopedia is the Speculum Majus, which was written by the thirteenth-century scholar Vincent of Beauvais.
15th century Printing revolution In Germany, around 1440, goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invents the movable-type printing press, which starts the Printing Revolution. The rise of print culture would enable greater public involvement with encyclopedic writing, allowing for more extensive experimentation with different models, as well as greatly expanding the amount of knowledge being disseminated.[2]:19
17th – 18th centuries Modern encyclopaedias The golden age of libraries in Europe is considered to be around this time, when most of the great collections of books are begun.[1]:93 The modern encyclopedia is developed from the dictionary.
19th – 20 centuries Significant growth and development Important period in the history of encyclopedias. During this time, encyclopedias undergo significant developments in terms of both content and format. The first comprehensive English-language encyclopedia, the Penny Cyclopaedia, is published, setting a new standard for encyclopedias and being followed by other major works, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, which would become the most widely used reference work in the English-speaking world. In addition to the growth in size and scope of encyclopedias, the 19th century sees an increase in the use of illustrations, as well as improvements in printing technology, which makes it possible to produce encyclopedias in larger quantities and at lower costs. This makes encyclopedias more accessible to a wider audience, and contributes to their growing popularity and importance as a source of information and reference. Print encyclopedias would dominate the market throughout most of the 20th century.
21st century Digital technology Towards the end of the 20th century, encyclopedias start being released on CD-ROMs for personal computer use. One notable example of this is Microsoft's Encarta. Digital encyclopedias emerge, allowing for the constant updating and addition of new information, making the content much more current and relevant than print encyclopedias. Digital encyclopedias often include interactive features such as multimedia, hyperlinks, and search functionality, making it easier for users to find the information they need and enhancing the overall user experience. Finally, some digital encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia, allow users to contribute and edit content, making the encyclopedia a constantly evolving resource. Wikipedia redefines the concept of an encyclopedia by creating a freely editable online platform that allows anyone to contribute. This results in more diverse and constantly updated information, making it accessible to a wider range of people.

Full timeline

Year Subject/type Details Language
367 BC–246 BC General knowledge Macedonian Greek historian Ptolemy I Soter, and later his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus plan to collect all Greek writings. They would pour large quantities of gold into the project, and even resort to piracy in the interest of amassing knowledge. More than once each of the Ptolemys would confiscate the book cargoes of ships that anchor in Alexandria’s harbor. They would borrow the works of three great playwrights from Athens, copy them, and then would return the copies rather than the originals to the Greeks.[1]:10 Ancient Greek
339–338 BC Specific content (natural history, mathematics, philosophy?) Greek philosopher Speusippus, a nephew of Plato, passes away. The earliest known encyclopaedia fragments that would be preserved are created by him, who recorded and disseminated Plato's ideas in various writings that covered topics such as natural history, mathematics, and philosophy.[3] Ancient Greek
3rd century BC Dictionary (China) Chinese dictionary Erya is produced.[4] Although it is traditionally attributed to the Duke of Zhou, Confucius, or his disciples, the book's author is unknown. The Erya and its glossary style found a whole type of glossary dictionaries compiled with similar principles.[5] Chinese
Erya Zhushu - Chinese Dictionary Museum.JPG
c.183 BC General knowledge One of the earliest known attempts to condense existing knowledge into a readable form is the Praecepta ad filium, a collection of letters written by Roman consul Marcus Porcius Cato to his son. The purpose of these letters is to provide a concise overview of useful information for living and helping others. Whereas the Greek approach at this time is to record the spoken word, the Romans, on the other hand, aim to epitomize existing knowledge in readable form.[3] Latin
116 BC-27 BC Specific content (liberal arts) Roman polymath Marcus Terentius Varro lives. He would write his Subjects for Learning, consisting in 9 books covering liberal arts, that is, areas of learning in which a free man should be knowledgeable: grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music, medicine, and architecture. He would also compose his Antiquities, containing 25 books on "matters human" and 16 on "matters divine."[6] Latin
20 BC Specific content (lexicon) Roman grammarian Marcus Verrius Flaccus (c. 55 BC – AD 20) compiles what would be known as De verborum significatione (Twenty Books on the Meaning of Words), a large lexicon considered the first of its kind and, moreover, a storehouse of antiquarian learning, in which Latin authors would quote extensively.[7] It would be compiled, edited, and annotated by Roman grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus (later 2nd century AD) in 20 books, arranged alphabetically.[7][8] Encyclopedic dictionaries of this type would be made famous in 1806 by the American Noah Webster.[1]:19 First printed in Milan in 1471 [9] Latin
AD 77 Specific content (natural history) Roman author Pliny the Elder publishes the first 10 books of his Historia Naturalis (Natural History)[10], which is frequently addressed as the first ancient encyclopedia.[11] Of all the Greek and Roman encyclopedists, Pliny would be undoubtedly the most influential, an autodidact having gathered material for his encyclopedia from 473 authors, mostly Greeks. Historia Naturalis consists of 37 parchment scrolls and 2,493 articles. The work is still studied today.[1]:19 Latin
Plinius t y Venezia 1499 IMG 3886.JPG
<47 AD Specific content (medicine) Roman encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus writes De Medicina, a medical treatise largely ignored by contemporaries. It would be discovered by Pope Nicholas V and would be published in 1478, becoming one of the first printed medical works after the introduction of the printing press.[12][13] Latin
62 AD – 64 AD Specific content (natural philosophy) Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger writes his Naturales quaestiones[14], a study on questions of physics and meteorology.[15] While not a systematic encyclopedia like the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, it represents one of the few Roman works dedicated to investigating the natural world.[16] Latin
c. 200 AD Dictionary The Shiming is believed to date from around this time. It is a Chinese dictionary that employs phonological glosses.[17] Chinese
220 AD Leishu Chinese encyclopedia Huanglan (“Emperor’s Mirror”) is completed by order of Cao Pi, the first emperor of the Wei. Like other Chinese encyclopedias, it is constructed for the needs of the civil service system and good government rather than recording absolute truths for the general reader.[1]:25 Divided into forty-odd parts, each of which divided into a dozen of subchapters, the book as a whole would be lost.[18] Chinese
2nd century AD Specific content (thesaurus) Greek scholar and rhetorician Julius Pollux creates his Onomasticon,[19] a Greek thesaurus or dictionary of Attic synonyms and phrases, in ten books, each prefaced with a dedication to the emperor Commodus.[20] The work forms part of the Atticist movement of the Second Sophistic, and is intended to provide a full catalogue of the Greek vocabulary derived from classical texts that an accomplished orator could deploy.[20] The entries in the work are arranged not alphabetically but according to subject-matter. Pollux claims that the exact order of subjects is random, but contemporary scholarship has discerned organizational patterns based on "the paradigmatic relationships at the heart of Romano-Greek society."[21] Ancient Greek
Julius Pollux - Onomasticon - 1608 - Titul.PNG
c.400 AD Specific content (liberal arts) Roman polymath Martianus Capella writes his single encyclopedic work De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury)[22] It introduces the division in seven liberal arts.[23] Unlike other encyclopedic compendia, this work also has a literary-philosophical influence, because of its form, the prosimetrum, and its framework, an allegorized mythography and cosmology.[24] Latin
4th century AD Dictionary of Latin usage Roman grammarian Nonius Marcellus creates De compendiosa doctrina,[25] a dictionary of Latin usage compiled from early literary texts, some of which are lost works from the Roman Republic. It is divided into 20 books and ordered according to words used by Latin authors.[26] Latin
505–587 General knowledge Indian astrologer, astronomer, and polymath Varāhamihira lives. He would write his Bṛhatsaṃhitā, Bṛhatsaṃhitā, an encyclopedia of Indian astronomy, astrology, and other diverse fields of knowledge. Sanskrit
Commentary manuscript
c.543-555 or 562 Specific content (christian encyclopedia) Roman statesman Cassiodorus publishes his Institutiones Divinarum et Saecularium Litterarum (An Introduction to Divine and Human Readings), the first Christian encyclopedia.[27] Written for his monks, the first part of the text delves into the topic of studying scripture and includes information about Christian fathers and historians. The second part of the text, which would be widely used during the Middle Ages, provides a brief overview of the seven liberal arts, which at the time are considered essential for understanding the Bible.[28] Latin
600 Leishu Chinese encyclopedia Pian Zhu (Stringed Pearls of Literature) is completed.[1]:25 Chinese
624 Leishu Chinese calligrapher, politician, and writer Ouyang Xun completes the leishu encyclopedia Yiwen Leiju (Anthology of Art and Literature).[29][30] Written in 100 chapters divided into 47 sections[1]:25, it is a sourcebook for the composition of essays.[2]:509 Chinese
630 Leishu Yu Shi-nan compiles his encyclopedia Bei Tang Shu Zhao (From a North Tang Writing Desk). With 160 chapters in 19 sections emphasizing public administration, [1]:25 it is the first of a number of important leishu assembled following practical needs of individuals preparing for the civil service examinations and officials in China. It deals mainly with government topics, and in particular matters related to the personnel and rituals of the dynastic courts preceding the Tang dynasty.[2]:59 An annotated edition, edited by Gong Guang-tao, would be published in 1880.[1]:25 Chinese
636 Specific content (christian encyclopedia) Visigothic scholar and cleric Isidore of Seville produces his Etymologiae, a Christian encyclopedia which would become the most influential encyclopedia of the early Middle Ages.[31] It is a comprehensive encyclopedia of ancient learning covering subjects from theology to furniture.[32][33] The work draws from around 475 works from over 200 authors, with significant borrowing from Boethius, Cassiodorus, Caelius Aurelianus, Pliny the Elder, Solinus, and Lactantius.[34] Isidore's Latin is a mix of classical Latin and the local Romance language of Hispania. The "Etymologiae" is compiled at the urging of Bishop Braulio and sent to him for correction, with the final version dedicated to the late Visigothic King Sisebut.[35] Latin
Etymologicum Magnum
668 Specific content (Buddhism) Buddhist encyclopaedia Fayuan Zhulin (Grove of pearls in the Dharma Garden) is compiled by Tao-shih.[36] It draws upon indigenous Chinese sources, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, but confined to topics about Buddhism and its development in China.[2]:509 Chinese
713–742 Leishu The Chuxue ji (Writings for elementary instruction) is compiled by Xu Jian.[37] This leishu is organized to provide beginning students with a general foundation of knowledge.[2]:509
765–775 Glossary The Abrogans (also German Abrogans or Codex Abrogans) is written. It is an alphabetical Latin-German glossary in Bavarian dialect, whose name is taken from the first Latin word in its list.[38] German
718–786 (Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi lifetime) Dictionary Arab philologist Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi compiles the Kitab al-'Ayn, which is considered the first Arabic language dictionary and one of the earliest known dictionaries of any language.[39][40][41][42] Arabic
801 Miscellanea Chinese historian Du You compiles the Tongdian (Encyclopaedic history of institutions) which concentrates on texts of political and administrative importance. An assembly of many disparate sources, it divides them into nine main subject headings: food and money, the examination system, official titles, rites, music, the army, punishments, provincial administration, and border defence.[2]:510 Chinese
828–889 Specific content (history) Islamic scholar Ibn Qutaybah composes his Adab al-katib (The book of knowledge), a handbook of history.[43][44] Arabic
842–846 General knowledge Frankish Benedictine monk Rabanus Maurus compiles an encyclopedia called De Universo (“On the Universe”), consisting in an untidy mass of copied material, taken largely from Isadore’s Etymologies. As a work intended to convey all the most important knowledge then available, it becomes a failure. However, it begins with God and the angels, which would become a virtue and valuable for medieval scholars.[1]:39 Latin
c.877–883 General knowledge Photios I of Constantinople composes his Bibliotheca, a digest of Greek prose literature with more than 270 articles. A distinguished teacher and a prominent figure in the Byzantine Empire during the 9th century, he became known for his regular readings in classical and Christian literature, including medical and scientific works. He used the notes taken at these readings to compose the Bibliotheca.[45] Greek
938 Dictionary The Wamyō Ruijushō is composed. It is a Japanese dictionary of Chinese characters.[46] Compiled by Minamoto no Shitagō, under the request of Emperor Daigo's daughter, it is the oldest existing Japanese dictionary that is organized into semantic headings, like a thesaurus. The dictionary categorizes kanji vocabulary, primarily nouns, into main headings and subheadings. Each entry includes the Chinese character, pronunciation, definition, and corresponding Japanese reading in Man'yōgana. The dictionary cites over 290 sources, both Chinese and Japanese. It survives in both a 10-volume and 20-volume edition, the latter being published in 1617 with a commentary. The 10-volume edition has 24 main headings and 128 subheadings, while the 20-volume has 32 and 249, respectively.[47][48][49] Japanese
Вамё Руйдзюсё.jpg
978 Leishu Chinese statesman Li Fang compiles under imperial sponsorship leishu Taiping Guangji (Extensive gleanings of the Reign of the Great).[2]:510 Chinese
983 Leishu The Taiping yulan (Imperial Reader or Readings of the Taiping Era) is compiled[50] by Li Fang and his collaborators. A massive leishu encyclopedia, it is the first large encyclopaedia of ancient China.[50] It contains 1,000 books arranged in 55 sections, and has quotations and extracts from some 1,600 other works.[1]:26 Chinese
987 Leishu Li Fang compiles the Wenyuan Yinghua (Finest flowers of the preserve of letters). This leishu, along with Taiping Guangji and Taiping yulan, representd the cultural patronage that the second Song dynasty emperor, Taizong offered to his officials and subjects.[2]:510 Chinese
977 General knowledge Iranian poet and secretary Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi completes his Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm (The Keys of the Sciences), an encyclopedia greatly influenced by Greek concepts and drawing on the works of such Greek authors as Philo, Nicomachus, and Euclid in an attempt to reconcile Greek philosophy with Islam. The encyclopedia is divided into two parts: Arab knowledge and Foreign knowledge. Some of its subject matter covers philosophy, grammar, logic, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, music, mechanics, and alchemy. This work would be eventually translated into Latin, and would be widely read in the Roman world.[1]:28 Arabic
1013 Leishu The Cefu Yuangui is completed, and is considered the last of the Four Great Books of Song. It is composed of 31 main sections, and 1,104 subsections.[2]:511 It contains historical precedents by which the emperor and his officials would make decisions. Cefu Yuangui is the largest leishu (encyclopedia) compiled during the Chinese Song Dynasty. Chinese
1017–1078 Specific content (humanities, science) Byzantine Greek monk Michael Psellos composes De omnifaria doctrina,[51] a short encyclopedia consisting in a set of brief outlines of various notions in philosophy, science, and theology.[52] Ancient Greek
1025 Specific content (medicine) Persian physician-philosopher Avicenna completes The Canon of Medicine (Arabic: القانون في الطب al-Qānūn fī al-Ṭibb; Persian: قانون در طب, Qanun-e dâr Tâb), a 14-volume medical encyclopedia covering such basic subjects as anatomy and hygiene. It also describes a vast range of diseases and injuries, and lists hundreds of different medicines.[53] The Canon of Medicine would remain a medical authority for centuries, setting the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world and being used as a standard medical textbook through the 18th century in Europe.[54][55] It is an important text in Unani medicine, a form of traditional medicine practiced in India.[56] Arabic
Persian version of The Canon of Medicine
1027 Specific content (philosophy, science) Muslim encyclopedias Al Shifa (The Book of Healing) is published by Avicenna.[57] A major work of medieval Muslim scholarship, it is a voluminous philosophical and scientific encyclopaedia treating logic, the natural sciences, psychology, the quadrivium (geometry, astronomy, mathematics, and music), and metaphysics.[58] Arabic
1086 Leishu Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman Shen Kuo writes his Meng Xi Bi Tan (Dream Pool Essays), an encyclopedia of natural science containing a history of China’s ancient science and technology. The first description of the magnetic compass is found in this book. It also covers extensively astronomy, mathematics, notices of fossils, the making of relief maps, descriptions of metallurgical processes, and biological observations. [1] Chinese
c.1100 General knowledge The Suda is written by a Byzantine scholar around this time. It is one of the world’s first encyclopedias and lexicons.[59] The author of the Suda remains largely unknown, but it's believed that they lived in the late 10th century based on references to historical events in the text. The work, which covers both biblical and non-biblical topics, is likely produced by the 12th century, as it is cited by Eustathius who lives during that time. It would also been suggested that the Suda is a collective work without a single author and that the name refers to the work as a whole rather than an individual. The author was likely Christian, but there are no clear religious biases in the work. The standard edition would be published by Ada Adler in the early 20th century, and a modern English translation would be completed in 2014.[60] Greek
1110 Specific content (geography, astrology, astronomy) Christian theologian Honorius Augustodunensis composes his Imago mundi.[61][62] Considered to be one of the greatest achievements of the 12th century, it is an encyclopedic work that covers a wide range of topics, including cosmology, geography, astronomy, and natural history. The first section of the work, which covers geography, astrology, and astronomy, is well-organized, beginning with the creation of the world and working down to specific countries and cities.[3] Latin
1120 Specific content (universal history) Lambert of St. Omer completes the Liber Floridus.[63] It is notable for its focus on metaphysical topics and its inclusion of subjects such as magic and astrology, rather than practical matters.[3] The text compiles extracts from some 192 or so different works.[64] Lambert collected his material from such sources as Isidore's Etymologiae, the Historia Brittonum, and the crusade chronicle of Bartolf of Nangis. Lambert frequently mentions crusaders from Saint-Omer and elsewhere, whom he presumably met when they returned home.[65] Latin
Liber Floridus page scan A, ca. 1460.jpg
1125–1135 Specific content (natural philosophy) French scholastic philosopher William of Conches composes De philosophia mundi, which covers a variety of topics including astronomy, geography, meteorology, and medicine. It includes diagrams in his discussion of astronomy to illustrate the orbits of celestial bodies such as the sun, Mercury, and Venus, as well as eclipses. In meteorology, he notes that the air becomes colder and less dense at higher altitudes and relates this to the circulation of the oceans. His discussion of medicine primarily focuses on procreation and childbirth. The manuscript also includes two world maps.[66][67] France
1127–1138 General knowledge King Someshvara III composes the Manasollasa,[68] an encyclopedic Sanskrit text covering a wide range of topics such as politics, ethics, economics, astronomy, and more. It is an important source of information on the society and culture of 11th and 12th century India, with a focus on the arts, particularly music and dance, and also includes chapters on food recipes and festivals, many of which are still present in modern Indian culture.[69] Sanskrit
c.1140 General knowledge Saxon canon regular Hugues de Saint-Victor composes his Didascalicon, which proposes a new classification of sciences and a new method of lecture of the Bible.[70] Latin
c. 1150 Specific content (specialized lexical encyclopedia) Greek lexical encyclopedia Etymologicum Magnum is compiled in Constantinople by an unknown lexicographer. It is the largest Byzantine lexicon and draws on many earlier grammatical, lexical, and rhetorical works.[71] Greek
1190 Specific content (scientific facts) English intellectual Alexander Neckam writes De naturis rerum (On the nature of things), which presents miscellaneous Greek and Islamic scientific facts that at the time are unknown in Western Europe.[72] Latin
1195 Specific content (history, theology, nature, religious education) Hohenburg Abbey nun Herrad of Landsberg completes the Hortus deliciarum (Garden of Delights) an encyclopedia which would be considered one of the finest examples of illuminated manuscripts ever produced. It is intended for use by the novices at the convent, with the sections on the history of the world relying heavily on biblical stories.[1] It is likely the first encyclopaedia to be created by a woman. The manuscript is illustrated with 636 miniatures.[3] Latin
c. 1200 General knowledge French theologian Radulfus Ardens composes his Speculum universale.[73]
1210–1214 Specific content (sSpeculum literature) English canon lawyer, statesman and cleric Gervase of Tilbury writes the Otia Imperialia.[74] It is an example of speculum literature. Also known as the "Book of Marvels", it primarily concerns the three fields of history, geography, and physics, but its credibility has been questioned by numerous scholars including philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, who was alerted to the fact that it contains many mythical stories. Its manner of writing is perhaps because the work was written to provide entertainment to Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV. Latin
1231–1236 Specific content (cosmology, metaphysics, ethics) French theologian and philosopher Guillaume d'Auvergne composes De universo creaturarum.[75] Latin
1235-1260 Specific content (natural history, theology, moral philosophy) Dominican friar Vincent of Beauvais composes his Speculum Maius.[76] It originally consists in three parts: the Speculum Naturale, Speculum Doctrinale and Speculum Historiale. However, all the printed editions include a fourth part, the Speculum Morale, added in the 14th century and mainly compiled from Thomas Aquinas, Stephen de Bourbon, and a few other contemporary writers. Latin
1240 General knowledge English Franciscan monk Bartholomeus Anglicus finishes the De proprietatibus rerum (On the Property of Things).[77] Anglicus draws heavily from the works of St. Isidore and Pliny. The encyclopaedia is made for the general public and it would become widely popular throughout Europe for the next three centuries.[3] Probably the most popular encyclopedia of its time, it would be translated from Latin into English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Italian. William Shakespeare would say to have been well acquainted with the English edition.[1] Latin
1246 General knowledge French priest and poet Gautier de Metz composes L'Image du monde, in Lorrain dialect, based on Honorius Augustodunensis.[78] Lorraine language
1256 Specific content (natural philosophy) Flemish Catholic medieval writer Thomas of Cantimpré composes his Liber de natura rerum, which summarizes diverse fields of knowledge, such as theology, astronomy, mathematics, zoology, botany, and biology.[79] Latin
1260 Specific content (biography, hagiography) The Legenda aurea or Legenda sanctorum (Golden Legend) is compiled around this time as a collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Voragine. It would be widely read in late medieval Europe, second only to the Bible. It depicts the lives of saints through a mixture of factual and fictional stories. The book is intended to educate, captivate, and encourage the faithful while preserving important information about the legends and traditions of the church. The "Golden Legend" would remain a key text in the fields of art history, medieval studies, and humanities. Even today, it is considered a treasure trove of European culture and is widely recognized as a key text in the field.[80] Latin
1263–1266 General knowledge Italian poet Brunetto Latini compiles an encyclopedia titled Li Livres dou Trésor (The Treasure Books). It is based in part on Vincent’s Speculum Maius, but represents a major breakaway from Latin as the only language fit for holding knowledge. Written in French, the encyclopedia would be widely used among intellectuals in both France and Italy. Available in almost all the dialects then used in France, it would be translated into Italian only two centuries later.[1] French
1295–1296 General knowledge Catalonian philosopher Ramon Llull in Barcelona writes his Arbre de la ciència, Arbor Scientiae (Tree of Science).[81] It is a version of his philosophical system known as the Art, written in the form of an encyclopedia, and designed for a non-university audience. It differs from other medieval compendia by using general principles to describe the multiplicity of the real, rather than using systematic catalogues of data. The work is divided into sixteen trees, with the first fourteen providing a view of reality as a whole, starting with inert beings and ending with God. The final two trees, the Exemplary Tree and the Tree of Questions, have a didactic function and provide narratives, proverbs, and analogies related to the contents of the initial Trees. Each of the sixteen Trees has an internal structure with seven parts: roots, trunk, boughs, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit. The symbolic structure of this homology is based on a scholastic precept from the Aristotelian tradition.[82] Catalan
Houghton SC.L9695.482ab - Ramon Llull, 1505.jpg
1313 Specific content (agronomy) Chinese agronomist Wang Zhen publishes his Nong Shu (Book of Agriculture),[83] a detailed encyclopedia of agriculture that also covers other subjects. A pioneer of wooden movable type printing, Zhen writes this text to aid destitute rural farmers in China looking for ways to improve their livelihoods. It is considered a descriptive masterpiece on contemporary medieval Chinese technology. The book is long, with over 110,000 written Chinese characters and is intended to be read by local officials rather than rural farmers. It is a significant work in medieval Chinese agriculture and technology.[84] Chinese
1314–1333 General knowledge Egyptian Muslim historian Al-Nuwayri compiles The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition.[85] This encyclopedia is divided in five sections (books): Geography and astronomy; man, and what relates to him; animals; plants; and history.[86]
1317 General knowledge (Tongdian) The Wenxian Tongkao (General Study of the Literary Remains) is compiled by Ma Duanlin. It is a huge encyclopaedia of general knowledge.[87] Chinese
c.1360–1375 General knowledge James le Palmer in London composes his Omne Bonum.[88][89] It is the first encyclopedia arranged in alphabetical order.[90] English)
1344 Specific content (universal history) English chronicler Ranulf Higden compiles his Polychronicon,[91] a six-book series about world history written in Latin, which would remain well-known until the fifteenth century.[92] Latin
c. 1349 Specific content (science) German Catholic scholar Conrad of Megenberg composes his compendium of science Buch der Natur[93] A Latin work, De naturis rerum, of the Dominican Thomas of Cantimpré (d. 1263), serves as model.[94] German
1353–1356 Specific content (physics, metaphysics, theology) Jewish philosopher Moses Nagari composes his Love in Delights (Ahavah ba-Ta'anugim). It covers Aristotelian physics and metaphysics, as well as a substantial section on theology. The author presents creative and innovative explanations for scientific topics, such as matter, atoms, time, and motion, that were not present in classical Aristotelian literature. The encyclopedia is seen as a critical source for the development of science in the 14th century and a bridge to modern science.[95] Hebrew
c. 1374–1418 Specific content (history, philosophy, science) Domenico Bandini of Arezzo composes his Fons memorabilium universi.[96] Though classified, it uses separate alphabetical orders for more than a quarter of its sections.[97] Latin
1377 Specific content (universal history) Muslim Arab sociologist, philosopher, and historian Ibn Khaldun publishes his Muqaddimah, which includes discussions on political establishments and a classification of the sciences.[98][1]
1333 Specific content (Arabic literature, islamic thought) Egyptian Muslim historian Al-Nuwayri completes his work The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition (نهاية الأرب في فنون الأدب, Nihāyat al-arab fī funūn al-adab)[99][100], a nine-thousand-page, thirty-three-volume encyclopedia. It is one of the most important medieval collections of Arabic literature and Islamic thought.[101] Arabic
1379–1392 Specific content (Christian theology, religious teachings) Catalan encyclopaedia Lo Crestià (The Christian) is written by Franciscan writer Francesc Eiximenis.[102] It is a Catalan encyclopaedia sponsored by King Peter IV of Aragon. It would be first printed by the German printer Lambert Palmart in Valencia in 1483 and 1484. The encyclopaedia is intended to explain the foundations of Christianity and encourage the study of theology among laymen. It is originally planned to be a 13-book work. Although it can now be considered an encyclopaedia of medieval life, it is also considered a significant work in Western literature as the last medieval Summa Theologica and one of the first works of didactic and theological literature written in a language other than Latin.[103] Catalan
Terc Crestia.jpg
1396 Specific content (female education) The Llibre de les dones (Book of Women) is written by Francesc Eiximenis.[104] Catalan
1407 General knowledge The Yongle Encyclopedia is completed. Written by some 2,000 scholars working under five chief directors and 20 subdirectors, it is the most extensive encyclopedia ever.[1] It is a largely-lost Chinese leishu encyclopedia commissioned by the Yongle Emperor of the Ming dynasty in 1403, comprising 22,937 manuscript rolls or chapters, in 11,095 volumes.[105] Fewer than 400 volumes survive today,[106] comprising about 800 chapters (rolls), or 3.5 percent of the original work.[107]
1412 Specific content (history, science) Egyptian polymath Al-Qalqashandi completes his Ṣubḥ al-aʿshā (The Dawn of the Blind or Daybreak for the Night-Blind regarding the Composition of Chancery Documents) is completed.[108] A fourteen-volume encyclopedia, it is an administrative manual on geography, political history, natural history, zoology, mineralogy, cosmography, and time measurement. Based on the Masālik al-abṣār fī mamālik al-amṣar of Shihab al-Umari,[109] it would be called "one of the final expressions of the genre of Arabic administrative literature".[110] Arabic
1474 Specific content (universal history) Carthusian monk and historian Werner Rolevinck publishes his Fasciculus temporum, the first printed universal chronicle.[111] It would become one of the greatest best-sellers in print of the 15th century, and most probably the best-selling printed book of the 15th century by a living author.[112] Latin
Fasciculus temporum
c. 1484 General knowledge Alfonso de la Torre composes his Visio delectable, an encyclopedic summary of medieval knowledge and figure of the cultural history of the West until the 15th century.[113] Spanish
Visio delectable
1491 Specific content (natural history) Jacob Meydenbach in Mainz publishes his Hortus Sanitatis, the first natural history encyclopaedia.[114] It is a book about species in the natural world, including information about their medicinal uses and methods of preparation. It follows earlier works such as the Latin Herbarius Moguntinus (1484) and the German Gart der Gesundheit (1485) published in Mainz. However, it goes beyond just covering herbs and includes information about animals, birds, fish, and stones.[115] The author also includes information about mythical creatures like dragons, harpies, hydras, and phoenixes.[116] Latin
Hortus Sanitatis
1493 Specific content (universal history) The Nuremberg Chronicle is produced. Written as an encyclopedic chronicle, it contains hundreds of illustrations, of historical figures, events and geographical places.[117] Written as an encyclopedic chronicle, it remains of the best documented early printed books, an incunabulum, and one of the first to successfuly integrate illustrations and text. Illustrations depict many never before illustrated major cities in Europe and the Near East.[118] Latin
Nuremberg chronicles - BVJA.png
1501 General knowledge De expetendis et fugiendis rebus by Giorgio Valla is posthumously printed by Aldus Manutius in Venice.[119] It is an encyclopædia compiled in 49 books. Valla, a humanist, combines the trivium with poetry, ethics and history in his encyclopaedia.[120]:94 Latin
1503 General knowledge German scholar Gregor Reisch publishes his compilation Margarita Philosophica, one of the earliest printed encyclopedias of general knowledge.[121] Covering the seven liberal arts[118], it would be widely used as a general textbook both for private study and in universities throughout western Europe.[122] Latin
Margarita Philosophica
1503 General knowledge Domenico Nani Mirabelli issues his Polyanthea: opus suavissimis floribus exornatum. With roughly 680 pages, it is one of the first general reference works produced for the printed book market. It is also one of the most popular reference works printed in the sixteenth century.[123] Latin[124] It is arranged in one alphabetical sequence.[97]
1517 Specific content (history, philology) Bavarian Renaissance humanist historian and philologist Johannes Aventinus publishes his Encyclopedia Orbisque Doctrinarum,[125] which is the first work to include the name encyclopedia in the title.[118] Latin
Johannes Aventinus.png
1531 General knowledge Sir Thomas Elyot in his Bok of the Governour coins the word “encyclopedia”, and defines it as: “that lernynge whiche comprehendeth all lyberall science and studies” ( "that learning which comprehends all liberal sciences and studies").[1] English
1531 Specific content (educational/pedagogical encyclopedia) Spanish (Valencian) scholar and Renaissance humanist Juan Louis Vives completes his De disciplinis libri XX (Twenty Books on Disciplines).[126] This encyclopedia is divided into three parts: De causis corruptarum artium, De tradendis disciplinis and De artibus. It also includes De prima philosophia seu de intimo opificio Naturae, De explanatione cuiusque essentiae, De censura veri, De instrumento probabilitatis, and De disputatione.[127] This work is composed primarily for the use of his pupil Guillaume de Croy, a man who would become a cardinal and archbishop of Toledo at the age of 19.[1] Latin
1538 General knowledge Flemish scholar Joachim Sterck van Ringelbergh publishes in Basel his Lucubrationes vel potius absolutissima kyklopaideia, which becomes the first work to use a version of the word cyclopaedia in its title.[128] Latin
1545 Specific content (bibliography) Swiss physician, naturalist, bibliographer, and philologist Conrad Gesner publishes the first printed bibliography, a notable scholarly achievement which took years of travel as well as study to compile. Gesner is interested in classifying books as well as classifying animals. This publication lists some 10,000 books by 3,000 authors.[120]:93 Latin
1545–1590 Specific content (ethnography) Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún composes La Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España. The best-preserved manuscript is commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex.[129] Spanish
Aztec warriors as shown in the Florentine Codex.
1548 General knowledge Conrad Gesner publishes the Pandects, which concerns with subject classification or, as Gesner put it, ‘general and particular arrangements (ordines universales et particulates). The volume is divided into twenty-one sections. It begins with the trivium, followed by poetry, the quadrivium, astrology; divination and magic; geography; history; mechanical arts; natural philosophy; metaphysics; moral philosophy; ‘economic’ philosophy; politics; and finally the three higher faculties, law, medicine and theology.[120]:93 Latin
1551 Specific content (zoology) Swiss physician Conrad Gessner publishes the first volume of his encyclopedic Historia animalium[11], which seeks to distinguish observed facts from myths and popular errors. A compendium of recorded knowledge concerning animal life, its first volume is concerned with viviparous quadrupeds. Later volumes are devoted to oviparous quadrupeds, birds, and fishes and other aquatic animals. The partially completed fifth volume, on serpents, would be published posthumously in 1587.[130]
1553 Dictionary French anatomist, natural historian, and scientific writer Charles Estienne composes his Dictionarium historicum, geographicum et poeticum.[131] Latin
1559 Specific content (theology, philosophy, mathematics, science) Croatian encyclopedist Pavao Skalić publishes in Basel his Encyclopaediæ, seu orbis disciplinarum, tam sacrarum quam prophanarum, epistemon,[128] which is often considered to be the first encyclopedia to use the term encyclopedia in its title.[132] Latin
Pavao Skalić; Enciklopedija ili znanje svijeta svetih i svjetovnih struka (1559).jpg
1562–1585 Leishu The Tushu Bian (Register of illustrations and books) is compiled by Zhang Huang. A well-illustrated Ming leishu, it is full of charts and diagrams, including those visualising celestial phenomena and the calendar. It is divided into four main sections focusing on Confucian classics; cosmology, astronomy, and the calendar; a detailed geography of the Ming empire; and physical and moral qualities of men. The last two chapters concern ‘strange phenomena’ and directions for writing poetry.[2]:516 Chinese
1565 General knowledge Swiss physician Theodor Zwinger publishes the Theatre of Human Life, an ambitious encyclopaedia of topics. It is based on the manuscripts – presumably commonplace books – bequeathed to him by another Swiss scholar, Conrad Lycosthenes but rearranged by Zwinger himself.[120]:95
1593 Specific content (bibliography) Italian jesuit Antonio Possevino publishes his Bibliotheca selecta[133], a two-volume bibliographical encyclopedia printed by the Typographia Apostolica Vaticana.[134] It is a compendium of Counter-Reformation knowledge, representing the Jesuit humanist pedagogy enunciated in the Ratio studiorum. Part I (Books 1-11) is dedicated to Pope Clement VIII and outlines a comprehensive bibliography on theology and incorporates works by contemporary Jesuit missionaries. Part II is dedicated to King Sigismund III Vasa of Poland and summarizes the literature and bibliography for law, philosophy, medicine, and the liberal arts. The compendium is a bibliography of the humanist culture of the Late Renaissance that is both encyclopedic and anti-heretical, emphasizing the criterion of orthodoxy. Some books would be also published separately, such as Book 16 on world history and Book 18 on rhetoric.[135][136] Italian
Bibliotheca selecta 1593.png
1596 Specific content (medicine, natural history, Chinese herbology) The Bencao Gangmu (Guidelines and details of materia medica) is first printed. Written by the famous Ming period herbologist Li Shizhen, it would become China's most important traditional book on pharmaceuticals.[137] Chinese
1605 Specific content (library catalog) The catalogue of the Bodleian Library is published, dividing books into four main groups: arts, theology, law and medicine, with a general index of authors and special indexes of commentators on Aristotle and the Bible.[120]:93 Latin?
1607 Leishu The Guang Bowu Zhi (Expansion of a treatise on curiosities) is compiled by Dong Sizhang.[2]:518 In contrast to more typical encyclopedias (leishu 類書), the Guang bowu zhi includes what we would call “natural history.” Topics include food and drink, botany, and fauna. It also includes art and literature, and cites Daoist works, Buddhist works, and the Standard Histories.[138] Chinese
1609 Leishu The Sancai Tuhui is published by Wang Qi and Wang Siyi, featuring illustrations of subjects in the three worlds of heaven, earth, and humanity. The work contains a large number of posthumous and contemporary depictions of Chinese Emperors.[139] Chinese
1614 Specific content (religion, theology) Spanish Jesuit Francisco Labata produces his Instrument of Preachers, which provides an alphabetical list of moral or theological commonplaces such as the virtues, the seven deadly sins and the four last things (death, judgement, hell and heaven).[120]:95 Spanish
1614 General knowledge Roman Catholic prelate Antonio Zara, the Bishop of Pedena, completes his Anatomia Igeniorum et Scientiarum (“Anatomy of Talents and Sciences”), which becomes the first encycopedia to include an index.[1]:101 Latin
1620 General knowledge German-born Transylvanian Saxon Calvinist minister and academic Johann Heinrich Alsted publishes his Encyclopaedia Cursus Philosophici.[140] It is often argued that this is the first work to bear the title "encyclopedia", though Joachim Sterck van Ringelbergh's Lucubrationes vel potius absolutissima kyklopaideia was published in 1538, and Paul Scalich published Encyclopediae seu orbis disciplinarum tam sacrarum quam profanarum epistemon in 1559. Latin
Alsted Encyclopaedia 1630.jpg
1620 General knowledge English philosopher Francis Bacon publishes his Instauratio magna, with the purpose “to commence a total reconstruction of sciences, arts, and all human knowledge, raised upon the proper foundations”.[141] Latin
1621 Specific content (military encyclopedia) The Wubei Zhi (Treatise on Armament Technology or Records of Armaments and Military Provisions) is compiled by Mao Yuanyi. It is a military encyclopedia consisting in five parts: Critique of military theory, investigations of military strategy, systems of battle arrays and training, methods of organization and supply, and records of prognostications and calculating.[142] Chinese
Block print from the Wubei Zhi
1627 Dictionary French lexicographer Daniel de Juigné-Broissinière publishes his Dictionnaire théologique, historique, poétique, cosmographique et chronologique. It is primarily a translation of Charles Estienne's Dictionarium historicum, geographicum ac poeticum. The book is a mix of historical, theological, poetic, cosmographic, and chronologic information, including biographies of important figures, descriptions of geographical locations, and explanations of myths and legends. Despite criticism from Louis Moréri for its reliance on questionable sources, the book would be well received and would go through several editions over the next 36 years. Antoine Baudeau de Somaize would later publish a similar work, Grand Dictionnaire des précieuses, that uses a similar title and format.[143][144] French
Dictionnaire de Juigné-Broissinière.jpg
1630 Miscellanea Johann Heinrich Alsted publishes his Encyclopaedia septem tomi distincta.[145] It is divided in seven volumes: Praecognita disciplinarum (knowledge of disciplines), Philologia (Philology), Philosophia theoretica (Theoretical Philosophy), Philosophia practica (Practical Philosophy), Tres superiores facultates (The three higher faculties); Artes mechanicae (Mechanical arts), and Farragines disciplinarum (Miscellaneous disciplines). Alsted would be called 'one of the most important encyclopedists of all time'.[146][147] Latin
Vroomheid, Menselijkheid en het Laatste Oordeel Titelpagina voor Johann Heinrich Alsted, Encyclopaedia Septem tomis distincta, 1630, RP-P-1982-1217.jpg
1631 General knowledge Belgian theologian and ecclesiastical writer and encyclopedist Laurentius Beyerlinck publishes his Magnum Theatrum Vitae Humanae.[148] Latin
1633 General knowledge German writer Peter Lauremberg in Rostock publishes his Pansophia. Czech philosopher John Amos Comenius would critizise that it "contains nothing appertaining to divine wisdom or the mysteries of salvation" and is consequently "unworthy of so sublime a title".[149] Latin
1635 General knowledge The Enciclopaediae praemessum is published by Léon de Saint-Jean.[150] An extract in French would be published in 1655 under title Le portrait de la sagesse universelle, avec l'idée générale des sçiances et leur plan représenté en cent tables.[151] Latin
1637 Specific content (scientific treatises) Chinese scientist and encyclopedist Song Yingxing composes the Tiangong Kaiwu (The Exploitation of the Works of Nature). It is a compendium on industry, agriculture and artisanry.[152] Chinese
Chinese Fining and Blast Furnace.jpg
1645 Specific content (maritime encyclopaedia) English sailor, engineer, and titular duke of Northumberland and earl of Warwick Sir Robert Dudley in Florence first publishes Dell'Arcano del Mare (Concerning the Secret of the Sea), which would become a well-known treatise containing the sum of contemporary knowledge of navigation. Published near the end of Dudley's life, the Arcano is considered ship construction, a plan for building a navy of five classes of ships, and naval discipline; it also contains determinations of longitude, charts based on the map projections of Gerardus Mercator, and designs for instruments. [153][154] Italian
Arcano del Mare northern Portugal Anton Francesco Lucini Robert Dudley (1646).jpg
1646 General knowledge English polymath Sir Thomas Browne uses the word "encyclopedia" in the preface to the reader to define his Pseudoxia Epidemica.[118] English
1653 General knowledge Transylvanian Hungarian polyglot, pedagogist, philosopher and theologian János Apáczai Csere publishes his Magyar encyclopaedia, the first Hungarian encyclopedia.[1] Hungarian
1658 Specific content (juvenile encyclopedia) Orbis Pictus (Visible World in Pictures) is published. Written by Czech educator John Amos Comenius, some consider it to be the earliest known children’s book.[155] Latin, German
1663 General knowledge French playwright Jean Magnon publishes La science universelle.[156] French
1669 Specific content (philosophical and scientific encyclopedism) German Jesuit scholar and polymath Athanasius Kircher publishes his Ars magna sciendi.[157] Latin
1670 General knowledge Michael Pexenfelder publishes his Apparatus eruditionis tam rerum quam verborum per omnes artes et scientias.[158] Latin
1674 General knowledge Catholic priest and theologian Louis Moréri first publishes in Lyon Le Grand Dictionnaire historique,[159] which emphasizes history, geography, and biographies, with the work arranged alphabetically under proper names. By this time printing is already proving itself the handiest way to arrange an encyclopedia, or at least the one by which it is easiest to make revisions to a printed page.[1] Arranged in alphabetical order, and known for its extensive coverage of geographical and biographical information, it would become very popular, with six editions being released by 1691, each containing updated information. English versions would also be released in 1694, 1701, and 1705 as a supplement.[141] French
1674 Specific content (specialized dictionary) Croatian linguist, lexicographer and poet Ivan Belostenec completes in manuscript his Gazophylacium, seu Latino-illyiricorum onomatum aerarium (Gazophylacium, or the Illyrian-Latin Treasury of Words). It would be published in 1740. It is an unfinished bilingual dictionary, considered important for its large collection of words (over 40,000 words on 2,000 pages) and its unique trilingual approach (kajkavian-chakavian-shtokavian) that is characteristic of the Ozalj literary-linguistic circle. The unfinished work would be later completed and published by two Paulists, Jerolim Orlović and Andrija Mužar, in Zagreb in 1740.[160] Latin
Gazophylacium MGZ 300109.jpg
1690 Specific content (literary and cultural encyclopedia) Abbé Furetière's Dictionnaire universel is posthumously published. A controversial work, its content excludes entries on science or the arts.[1] French
1694 Specific content (science, art) Thomas Corneille publishes Le Dictionnaire des Arts et des Sciences (Dictionary of Arts and Sciences), 53 years after the decision was first made to produce this work.[1]:52 French
1694 Specific content (female education) English bookseller and author John Dunton publishes The ladies dictionary.[161]
1695 Dictionary (biography) French philosopher Pierre Bayle publishes his Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (Historical and Critical Dictionary).[162] French
1695 Specific content (juvenile encyclopedia) German historian Johann Christoph Wagenseil publishes his Pera librorum iuvenilium (Collection of Juvenile Books).[163] Latin
1698 General knowledge The Lexicon Universale is written by Johann Jacob Hofmann of Basel.[164] Appearing in four volumes with 1,000 pages each[165], it is an early modern humanist encyclopedia. Latin
Lexicon Universale.jpg
1701-1707 General knowledge The Biblioteca Universale Sacro-Profana is published[166] by Vincenzo Coronelli, an Italian Franciscan friar, cosmographer, cartographer, publisher, and encyclopedist known in particular for his atlases and globes.[167] It is one of the first universal encyclopedias in a European vernacular language with entries arranged alphabetically. While planned to contain 45 volumes, only 7 volumes would appear, reaching the letter C.[168] Italian
1701 Specific content (history, geography, genealogy, poetry) English theatre critic, non-juror bishop and theologian Jeremy Collier publishes The great historical, geographical, genealogical and poetical dictionary.[169] English
1703 General knowledge An Universal, Historical, Geographical, Chronological and Poetical Dictionary is published.[170] It is the first English language reference work to present general information in an alphabetical format.[171] English
1704 General knowledge (science emphasis) John Harris publishes his Lexicon Technicum, which is considered the first purely English encyclopedia. The work emphasizes the sciences, is alphabetically arranged, and includes entries by some of the leading scholars of the day.[1] English
1704 Dictionary The Dictionnaire de Trévoux is first published.[172] It is a valuable witness of life in the 18th century and covers linguistic aspects as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and religious subjects. It is then distributed throughout Europe. The work is partly coordinated by the Jesuits, but secular authors also collaborate.[173] French
1712 Leishu Wakan Sansai Zue (Illustrated Sino-Japanese Encyclopedia) is published. It is a Japanese encyclopedia from the Edo period. It has 81 books, 105 volumes in total, and this one volume is only a part of it. It is compiled by Terashima or Terajima Ryōan, a doctor from Osaka. It provides detailed illustrations and descriptions of various aspects of daily life in Japan, including carpentry, fishing, plants, animals, and constellations. The title of the book, "Wakan Sansai Zue," is a combination of the Japanese word "Wa" and the Chinese word "Kan" which means Japan and China respectively, indicating that the encyclopedia is heavily influenced by Chinese encyclopedias, specifically the Ming dynasty work "Sancai Tuhui" by Wang Qi, known in Japan as the "Sansai Zue."[174] Japanese
1725–1726 Leishu Gujin Tushu Jicheng (Complete Collection of Illustrations and Writings from the Earliest to Current Times) is published. It is a vast encyclopedic work written in China during the reigns of the Qing dynasty emperors Kangxi and Yongzheng. It is headed and compiled mainly by scholar Chen Menglei and later Jiang Tingxi. It is considered the largest leishu ever printed, containing 10,000 volumes, 800,000 pages, and over 100 million Chinese characters. It covers a wide range of topics including natural phenomena, geography, history, literature and government. The work is printed in 1726 using copper movable type printing. It spans around 10 thousand rolls.[175] Chinese
1726 General knowledge Jacob Christoph Iselin in Switzerland publishes his Neu Vermehrtes Historish-und Geographisches Allgemeines Lexicon (New Universal Enlarged Historical and Geographical Dictionary).[1]:53
1728 General knowledge English encyclopaedist Ephraim Chambers publishes his Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences,[176] a two-volume encyclopaedia containing alphabetically arranged information on the arts and sciences, but not including names of people or places.[177] Chambers woud be given the honor of membership in the Royal Society in 1729 on the basis of the encyclopedia, and later the right to be buried with other noted authors in the cloisters at Westminster Abbey.[1] Seven editions would be published in London by 1751-52. After the death of Chambers, the materials for seven additional volumes would be reworked by John Lewis Scott and John Hill, and would be published in two folio volumes in 1753 as a Supplement.[177] Widely acclaimed for its scholarship, Samuel Johnson would cite it as the reference that “formed his style”.[1] English
1731 General knowledge The Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon (Great Complete Encyclopedia of All Sciences and Arts) is first published by Johann Heinrich Zedler. With 68 volumes and 64,309 pages, it is the largest and most comprehensive German-language encyclopedia developed in the 18th century. Zedler includes biographies of living people, an unusual feature for the time.[1]:53 German
1741 General knowledge An Universal History of Arts and Sciences is released in English by the French expatriate Dennis (or Denis) de Coetlogon.[178] It would be published in 209 weekly installments from 1741 to 1745. In his preface, Coetlogon criticizes Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia and other extant dictionaries of the arts and sciences for conveying superficial information and not supporting true education. To remedy the problem, Coetlogon choses to base his encyclopedia on "treatises" rather than articles. In the end, the Universal History would comprise 169 treatises averaging around fifteen pages in length but varying widely from a mere fourteen lines ("Cosmography") to 113 pages ("Geography"). It is likely that the example of the Universal History would play a role in the adoption of treatises in the first edition (1771) of the Encyclopaedia Britannica a few decades later.[179] English
1745 General knowledge Polish priest Benedykt Chmielowski publishes his Nowe Ateny (New Athens)[180]. It is considered the first Polish-language encyclopedia.[181] Authored by the 18th-century Polish priest Benedykt Joachim Chmielowski, the first edition is published in 1745–1746 in Lwów (Lviv), and the second edition would be updated and expanded in 1754–1764. Polish
Illustration of a dragon from Nowe Ateny
1746–1851 General knowledge (with some limitations) Gianfrancisco Pivati publishes his Nuovo dizionario scientifico e curioso, sacroprofano (New Scientific and Curious, Sacred-Profane Dictionary)[182]. A 12- volume encyclopedia[1], it avoids the subject of history.[182] Italian
1747 Leishu Du Yu prints his Jiu Dong (“Investigation of the Known”) an encyclopedia comprising nine sections including economics, law, music, political geography, examinations and degrees, rites and ceremonies, government, the army, and national defense.[1]
1751 General knowledge The Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts) is first published. It is a significant work of the Philosophes, a group of individuals dedicated to the advancement of science, secular thought and the new tolerance and open-mindedness of the Enlightenment. The Encyclopédie would have a significant impact on French society, culture and politics leading up to the French Revolution. Its contributors are called Encyclopédistes. The Encyclopédie is modeled after Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia. The project was taken over by André Le Breton, who brought in Jean d’Alembert and Denis Diderot to help with the project in 1745 and 1746 respectively. Diderot became the general editor of the Encyclopédie, except for the mathematical parts, which were edited by d’Alembert. The first edition of the Encyclopédie is published in 35 volumes, 17 volumes of text would be published between 1751 and 1765, 11 volumes of plates would be published between 1762 and 1772, and 7 additional volumes would be added between 1776 and 1780.[183] French
Encyclopedie de D'Alembert et Diderot - Premiere Page - ENC 1-NA5.jpg
1756 Specific content (agriculture) The Complete Farmer: Or, a General Dictionary of Husbandry is published.[184] It holds a summary of information on agriculture and in all its branches. It is written by members of the Royal Society of Arts under the pseudonym a Society of Gentlemen. It would be published in weekly numbers until 1768.[185] English
The complete Farmer, plate I.jpg
1761 Specific content (handcraft, manufacturing) Descriptions des Arts et Métiers is first published by the Parisian Royal Academy of Sciences as a collection of books on crafts. The full series comprises 113 folio volumes along with three supplements, and provide detailed accounts of a wide range of handcraft and manufacturing processes carried out in France at that time. The last volume would appear in in 1788. French
Houghton TypR-75 - Description des arts et métiers, 1.jpg
1765 General knowledge The Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences is released.[186] Edited by Temple Henry Croker, it is notable for being published in Coventry, making it the first English encyclopedia published outside London.[187] English
1768 General knowledge The Encyclopædia Britannica is first released.[188] It is first published until 1771 in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, as three volumes. The encyclopaedia would grow in size: the second edition would have 10 volumes,[189] and by its fourth edition (1801–1810) it would expand to 20 volumes.[190] The Britannica is the longest running in-print encyclopaedia in the English language. English
1771 edition
1770–1780 General knowledge Yverdon Encyclopedia is published by Fortunato Bartolomeo de Felice. With 58 quarto volumes and over 77,000 articles, it is considered an original scientific project, providing insight in the knowledge available in the second half of the 18th century. Fields of interest include literature and humanities, history, book history, history of art, philosophy, theology, and history of sciences.[191] The work can also be used for research in the field of the history of ideas.[192] French
Encylopédie d'Yverdon.jpg
1782 Leishu The Siku Quanshu is published.[193] Variously translated as the Complete Library in Four Sections, Imperial Collection of Four, Emperor's Four Treasuries, Complete Library in Four Branches of Literature or Complete Library of the Four Treasuries, it is the largest collection of books in Chinese history with 36,381 volumes, containing 2.3 million pages and about 997 million words.[194] It includes an annotated catalog of 10,680 titles and a compendium of 3,593 titles.[195] Today, the complete collection is held in four libraries in China and Taiwan: the National Library of China, the National Palace Museum, the Gansu Library, and the Zhejiang Library. It is longer than the Ming dynasty's Yongle Encyclopedia, which preceded Siku Quanshu as China's largest encyclopedia.[196] Chinese
1789 General knowledge Dobson's Encyclopædia is first published [197] by Thomas Dobson as the first encyclopedia issued in the newly independent United States of America. It is a reprint of the contemporary third edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (published 1788–1797), although Dobson's Encyclopædia is a somewhat longer work in which a few articles were edited for a patriotic American audience.[198] English
1793 General knowledge The first Russian encyclopedia is published. Compiled by Vasily Tatishchev, a prominent Russian Imperial statesman, historian, philosopher, and ethnographer, only half of the work is completed.[1] Russian
1795 Dictionary (chemistry) English chemist William Nicholson publishes his Chemical Dictionary.[199] English
A dictionary of chemistry Fleuron T056115-8.png
1796 General knowledge The Encyclopædia Perthensis is published.[200] It is a reference work published in two editions, the first from 1796 to 1806 and the second from 1807 to 1816.[201] The first edition is subtitled "Universal dictionary of knowledge, collected from every source and intended to supersede the use of all other English books of reference."[202] The second edition would be subtitled "Universal dictionary of the arts, sciences, literature, &c. intended to supersede the use of other books of reference." The majority of the content is taken verbatim from the third edition of Encyclopædia Britannica. The first edition has 23 octavo volumes with plates and maps and is edited by Alexander Aitchison, a member of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh.[203][204] English
Minerva directing study.jpg
1796 General knowledge The German-language Conversations-Lexikon mit vorzüglicher Rücksicht auf die gegenwärtigen Zeiten (Encyclopedia with Special Regard to the Present Times) is first published in Leipzig as an 8-volume, 2,762-page German language encyclopedia. It is edited by Dr. Renatus Gotthelf Löbel and aimed to surpass the works of Johann Hübner by covering a wide range of topics such as geography, history, biography, mythology, philosophy, and natural history. The first 4 volumes are published between 1796 and 1800, with the 5th volume appearing in 1806. The encyclopedia would be later acquired and finished by Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus in 1808 and would serve as the foundation for many editions of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia, which would be published until February 1, 2014.[205] German
1802 Specific content (domestic economy) The Domestic Encyclopedia is published in London[206] by Murray and Highley as a 4-volume English language encyclopedia. Compiled by Anthony Florian Madinger Willich, the encyclopedia provides a concise overview of the latest discoveries, inventions, and advancements of its time, particularly in the field of rural and domestic economy. Unlike other encyclopedias of the era, such as the Encyclopædia Britannica or the Chambers Cyclopædia, which were printed in quarto or folio, the "Domestic Encyclopedia" is printed in octavo. Each volume has approximately 500 pages and there are 28 plates in total. The fourth volume features a 70-page supplement and a 33-page index.[207][208] English
1802 General knowledge The English Encyclopaedia is printed in London by George Kearsley.[209][210] It is published as a 10-volume encyclopedia, with each volume consisting of a different number of pages with the total being over 8000 pages including a supplement that starts at page 183. The title page describes it as a collection of articles and a dictionary of terms related to arts and sciences, featuring over 400 illustrations. The encyclopedia serves as the foundation for Kearsley's later work Pantologia which he would start compiling in 1802.[211] English
1809 General knowledge The British Encyclopedia, or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences is published[212] in London in six octavo volumes and about 150 plates. Three American editions of the British Encyclopedia would be published by Mitchell, Ames, & White in 1816-17, 1818, and 1819-1821.[213] English
1817 General knowledge The Encyclopædia Metropolitana is released.[214] Published as part publication, it would present a number of distinguished authors, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It contains entries by astronomer Sir John Herschel; physicist Peter Barlow; mathematicians George Peacock, Augustus de Morgan, and Charles Babbage; and Archbishop Richard Whately. This publication would be considered a failure due to several factors, including lack of alphabetical arrangement, a feature established by Encyclopaedia Britannica and Rees's Cyclopædia.[1] English
1818 General knowledge The Allgemeine Encyclopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste begins production. Edited by Johann Samuel Ersch and Johann Gottfried Gruber, it is planned to be so comprehensive that it could never be completed. By 1889 this encyclopedia would include 167 volumes. The first part, covering information under the letters A to G, fills 99 volumes. With many large entries, the one on Britain would take up 414 pages; the one on Greece, 3,688.[1] German
1820 General knowledge The New Cyclopaedia designed by Abraham Rees is completed. An original and finely illustrated work, it would prove to be a strong competitor in England to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.[1] English
1828 General knowledge Noah Webster’s informative American Dictionary of the English Language is published. While encyclopaedic in character, he avoids the long entries for the more important subjects that are such a feature of Larousse. Webster’s approach appeals to the American taste and captures a huge market that would only increase with the years.[141] English
1829 General knowledge Francis Lieber, a German in exile living in the United States, designs the Encyclopaedia Americana: a Popular Dictionary which would be published in 13 volumes by a Philadelphia printer between 1829 and 1833. Lieber bases the work on the seventh edition of the Brockhaus Enzyklopädie and names it the Americana in hopes of reaching the same market that is buying the British editions and pirated American editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica at the time.[1] English
1829 General knowledge The Encyclopedia Americana is released[215] as a general knowledge encyclopedia. It would become one of the three major English-language general encyclopedias along with Collier's Encyclopedia and Encyclopædia Britannica. Over 45,000 articles include extensive coverage of American and Canadian geography and history, biographies, and scientific and technical subjects. It is written by 6,500 contributors and includes over 9,000 bibliographies, 150,000 cross-references, 1,000+ tables, 1,200 maps, and almost 4,500 images. Originally available as a 30-volume print set, its online version would be first introduced in 1996.[216] English
1835 General knowledge British science lecturer and writer Charles Frederick Partington publishes The British Cyclopædia of Arts and Sciences, Literature, History, Geography, Law and Politics, Natural History and Biography[217] The tenth and last volume would appear in 1837.[218] English
1842 Specific content (science, literature, art) The Dictionary of Science, Literature and Art is first published[219] by Longman's in the United Kingdom and by Harper Brothers in the United States as a single-volume reference work. At the time it is considered a highly successful compendium of general but scholarly information.[220] It becomes part of a trend toward cheaper, smaller reference works targeted at the middle and working classes. The first edition has 1352 pages. It would be reprinted in 1845, 1847, 1848 and 1851. A second, revised edition would published in 1852 in 1423 pages. It would be expanded to three volumes in 1866. The final edition would be published in 1875 in three volumes.[221] English
1853 General knowledge The Herder Konversations-Lexikon is first published[1] by Verlag Herder German
1853 Specific content (juvenile encyclopedia) Larousse issues Petite Encyclopédie du jeune âge (Small Children’s Encyclopaedia).[163] French
1854 Specific content (geography, natural History, biography) The English Cyclopaedia is published by Charles Knight[222] as a 23-volume dictionary of universal knowledge. Published until 1862, it is based on the Penny Cyclopaedia.[223] Sometimes popularly referred to as Knights Encyclopedia[224], the content is divided into four sections: Geography, Natural History, Biography (with 703 lives of living persons), and Arts and Sciences. A supplement of 4 volumes would be published between 1869 and 1873.[225] The English Cyclopaedia serves as the basis for the Everyman's Encyclopedia in 1913.[226] English
1856 Specific content (household, how-to) The British Enquire within upon Everything is founded[227] as the earliest quick-sell, one-volume encyclopedia. Its publication would be suspended 96 years later in 1952.[1] English
1859 General knowledge Chambers's Encyclopaedia is founded by William and Robert Chambers of Edinburgh.[228] English
1865 Dictionary, general knowledge French grammarian Pierre Larousse begins to publish Le Grand Dictionnaire Universel du XIXe Siecle in Paris. An anticlerical book in tone, it combines the features of both a dictionary and an encyclopedia. This work would go into many editions, the latest being issued in the 1970s.[1] France
1875 General knowledge The Nuova Enciclopedia Italiana is published.[229] in Turin. It is a general knowledge, illustrated, Italian-language encyclopedia edited by economist Gerolamo Boccardo.[230][231] Italian
1878 General knowledge Johnson’s New Universal Cyclopaedia by Alvin J. Johnson is published in four volumes. It would be reissued almost 20 years later in eight volumes.[1] English
1879 Specific content (natural history) Biologia Centrali-Americana is first issued by the editors Frederick DuCane Godman and Osbert Salvin, of the British Museum (Natural History) in London.[232][233] The series would reach 63 volumes on the flora, fauna, and anthropology of Central America. It is the first biological survey of the area from Mexico to Panama.[234] English
1880 Specific content (universal history) American educator John Clark Ridpath publishes his Cyclopedia of Universal History[235], a comprehensive encyclopedia of world history. It is first published in 3 volumes until 1884 and is illustrated in black and white. It would be later expanded to four volumes in 1890 to include updates on the events of the 19th century. This work serves as the foundation for Ridpath's later books, History of the World (8 volumes, 1894) and Universal History (16 volumes, 1895).[236] It also became the prototype for his later History of the World (8 volumes, 1894) and Universal History (16 volumes, 1895).[237][238] English
1883 General knowledge Cassell’s Concise Cyclopaedia is published in London.[239] English
1884 Specific content (history, geography) The Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia is released.[240] English
Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia.jpg
1886 General knowledge French politician Ferdinand-Camille Drefus first publishes La Grande Encyclopédie. Published until 1902, it comprises 31 volumes, containing articles by leading French scholars. In modern times it is still considered an important source for many subjects.[1] French
1889 Miscellanea Barkham Burroughs' Encyclopaedia of Astounding Facts and Useful Information is first published as an encyclopedia and miscellany.[241] English
1894 Specific content (juvenile encyclopedia) Frank E. Compton sells a U.S. school encyclopaedia, the Students Cyclopedia, from door to door to pay his way through college. This would later become the New Students Reference Work, which Compton would finally buy. While continuing to publish this, Compton would design a completely new and, for those times, revolutionary work, which would first appear in 1922 as Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia.[163] English
1897 General knowledge The Pears’ Cyclopaedia is initiated by Thomas J. Barratt of the Pears’ Soap Company.[1]:197
1900 General knowledge The Nuttall Encyclopædia is first published as a comprehensive dictionary of general knowledge.[242] English
1900 General knowledge Universal Cyclopaedia is first published by D. Appleton & Company.[243] Edited by Charles Kendall Adams, it would be renamed to Universal Cyclopaedia and Atlas in 1902. English
1901 General knowledge American Educator is first published as Hill's Practical Encyclopedia in four volumes.[244] By 1919 it would be published as an 8-volume set. It would go through several revisions and changes in publishers over the years, eventually becoming the American Educator Encyclopedia in 1932 and would be published annually under continuous revision.[245] In 1957, it would be available in 10 or 14-volume editions with supplementary material but would be discontinued in 1965 and would have 20 volumes at its final revision in 1972. The final edition has 7,750 pages, 13,000 articles, and approximately 5 million words with articles averaging 400 words and mostly unsigned. There are 16,000 cross-references, 693 maps, and 12,000 illustrations, with 15% of them in color. The encyclopedia would be discontinued in 1977.[246][247] English
The American educator; completely remodelled and rewritten from original text of the New practical reference library, with new plans and additional material (1919) (14784775122).jpg
1902 General knowledge Collier's New Encyclopedia is first published.[248] Originally designed to include 20 volumes, it would be considered one of the top three major English language encyclopedias in the world.[249] English
1861 Specific content (yearbook) Appleton's Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events is released by the New York publisher D. Appleton & Company[250] as an American yearbook that would cover the years 1861–1902 . It is a comprehensive yearbook of events, obituaries and statistics, worldwide, with many articles written by experts, some of them signed.[1]:187 English
1904 General knowledge The New International Encyclopedia is issued in 17 volumes. It would be expanded to 20 volumes in 1916 and then to 24 volumes in 1922. It introduces a unique feature, letting maps be mounted on inserts so that subscribers could replace them whenever new maps were issued to take account of any geographical changes.[1]:132 English
1905 General knowledge The Harmsworth Encyclopedia: Everybody’s Book of Reference is published in London. Edited by George Sandeman, it would meet a genuine popular need, rapidly selling a half-million copies.[1]:125 English
1905 General knowledge Enciclopedia Espasa is first printed in Barcelona. Considered a great national encyclopedia, it is remarkable for its detail, lengthy bibliographies, international scope, and clear maps of even remote and obscure places.[1]:126,127 Spanish
1906 General knowledge The New Standard Encyclopedia is published[251] in 12 volumes, by the University Society. Inc. English
1907 Specific content (religion) The Catholic Encyclopedia is launched by Robert Appleton Company in New York. Printed in fifteen volumes, it is an international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine, discipline, and history of the Catholic Church.[252][253] English
Catholic Encyclopedia - publisher's logo.png
1908 Specific content (juvenile encyclopedia) The Children's Encyclopædia is released.[254] Initially released in fortnightly parts between 1908 and 1910, with some readers choosing to bind their own collections, the first eight-volume sets would be published in 1910. Created by Arthur Mee and published by the Educational Book Company Ltd. in London, it would be published until 1964, and would be commonly found in homes throughout the British Empire.[255] English
1909 Specific content (social groups in India) Castes and Tribes of Southern India is published[256] by British museologist Edgar Thurston and K. Rangachari as a seven-volume encyclopedia of social groups of Madras Presidency and the princely states of Travancore, Mysore, Coorg and Pudukkottai. English
1911 General knowledge The Anglo-American Cyclopedia is first published in New York, reaching 50 volumes.[1]:187 English
1912 General knowledge The Book of Knowledge is first published in New York, reaching 24 volumes.[1]:187[257] English
1913 Specific content (Islam) The Encyclopaedia of Islam is first published. It is an encyclopaedia of the academic discipline of Islamic studies published by Brill. It is considered to be the standard reference work in the field of Islamic studies. The original edition would be issued until 1936.[258][259] The second edition of Encyclopaedia of Islam (EI2) would begin in 1954 and completed in 2005 (several indexes to be published until 2007); it is published by the Dutch academic publisher Brill and is available in English and French.[260] Since 1999, (EI2) would be available in electronic form, in both CD-ROM and web-accessible versions. Publication of the Third Edition of EI (EI3) would start in 2007. It is available online, printed "Parts" appearing four times per year.[261] French
1917 General knowledge The World Book Encyclopedia is published.[262] It is designed primarily for students in elementary school, junior high, and high school. Its approximately 17,500 entries are relatively short, written in a style directed at the grade level where they are most likely to be studied, and contain reliable and impartial information.[263] English
1917 Specific content (sinology) The Encyclopaedia Sinica is published[264] by English missionary Samuel Couling. It is an English-language encyclopedia on China and China-related subjects, covering a range of topics and providing insight on early 20th century perspectives towards China. English
1917–1918 Specific content (children encyclopedia) Children aimed The World Book Encyclopedia is published, with the title page describing it as “organized knowledge in story and picture.” A success from the start, it would issue enlarged editions in quick succession. In 1925 a volume would be devoted to reading courses and study units would added. Annual supplements would be provided from 1922 onward. In 1961 a Braille edition in 145 volumes would be issued, with most of the illustrations eliminated in this, while retaining many of the diagrams and graphs. In 1964 a separate 30-volume set in a special large type would be published for the use of the partially blind.[163] English
1920 General knowledge John H. Finley publishes the Nelson’s Perpetual Loose-leaf Encyclopedia in 12 volumes. In theory, the new pages, issued twice a year, would keep this encyclopedia up-to-date and useful for many years to come, but the method eventually would be abandoned for not attracting enough sales.[1]:189 English
1921 General knowledge Collins Concise Encyclopedia is published[265] as New Gresham Encyclopedia in 12 volumes, by the Gresham Publishing Company of London. English
1922 General knowledge Cassell's Book of Knowledge is first published as an alphabetical eight-volume encyclopedia under a range of titles including The Book of Knowledge and The New Book of Knowledge. The series would be printed in London by The Waverley Book Company, Ltd. in various years since launch. The essays would be written in a now dated style, but designed to appeal to both adults and children. The books would be edited by multiple editors including Harold FB Wheeler (circa 1935), John Alexander Hammerton (circa 1950), and Gordon Stowell (1955). The New Book of Knowledge, an updated set, would appear circa 1959.[266][267] English
1922 General knowledge F. E. Compton and Company of Chicago publishes Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia, a home and school encyclopedia in 8 volumes. It is titled "Pictured" because no other encyclopedia at the time has as large or as diverse a collection of illustrations.[268] The encyclopedia woul be expanded to 10 volumes in 1924 and 15 in 1932. In 1940 the title would be expanded to Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia and Fact Index to emphasize its "Fact-Index" feature which combines a general index with dictionary type entries and tables. The general editor from 1922 to 1961 would be Guy Stanton Ford. He would be succeeded by Charles Alfred Ford, and then Donald Lawson in 1964. In the early 1960s, F. E. Compton Co. would be purchased by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.[269] In 1968 the title would be changed to simply Compton's Encyclopedia and expanded to 24 volumes. It would be expanded to 26 volumes in 1974.[270][271][1]:188 English
Map within 1922 edition
1925 Specific content (biography) The Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Biographical Dictionary of the Italians) is released.[272] A biographical dictionary published by the Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana, it would be completed in 2020. It includes about 40,000 biographies of distinguished Italians.[273] Italian
1925 Specific content (Australia) The Australian Encyclopaedia is first published.[274] In addition to biographies of notable Australians the coverage includes the geology, flora, fauna as well as the history of the continent.[275] English
1929 General knowledge The Enciclopedia Italiana de Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (best known as Treccani) is first published.[276] Edited by the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, although intended to provide local content for an exclusively Italian audience, it reflects a broader international approach, and its bibliographies cite books and periodical articles in many languages. Parts of this encyclopedia also contain nationalistic bias produced in accord with the views of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime. In fact, the article on Fascism itself is written by Mussolini. Whereas this encyclopedia defends Fascist ideology, it remains impartial in much of the rest of the text.[1]:126 Italian
1931 Miscellanea An Outline of Modern Knowledge is first published by Victor Gollancz.[277] Its twenty-four articles cover the subjects of science, philosophy, religion, sex, mathematics, astronomy, biology, anthropology, cosmogony, psychology, psycho-analysis, archaeology, economics, politics, finance, industry, internationalism, history, ethnology, geography, literary criticism, music, architecture, painting and sculpture.[278] English
1935 General knowledge The Encyclopédie Française begins publication as a set of 21 books arranged in systematic order. Its loose-leaf binding permits supplementary pages to be provided to owners of the encyclopedia whenever information on the earlier pages is updated. The new pages could be inserted in place of the old ones without affecting the design of each volume.[1]:123 French
1935 General knowledge The Columbia Encyclopedia is first issued by the Columbia University Press. A one-volume work, it is a scholarly attempt to bridge the gap between the large encyclopedias and the cheap one-volume annuals. By omitting definitions and using many crossreferences, its economy of space would pleased many purchasers. The work concentrates on providing “first aid and essential facts” rather than technical details. It would be reissued in 1950, 1963, and 1975.[1]:138
1948 General knowledge Hutchinson Encyclopedia is first published.[279] English
1948 General knowledge Norwegian encyclopedia Norsk Allkunnebok is released.[280] It is published by house Fonna Forlag, with journalist Arnulv Sudmann as principal editor.[281] Nynorsk
1948 General knowledge The American Peoples Encyclopedia is published in New York in 20 volumes.[1]:187 English
1949 General knowledge Collier's Encyclopedia is first published.[282] With Encyclopedia Americana and Encyclopædia Britannica, it would become one of the three major English-language general encyclopedias: The three being sometimes collectively called "the ABCs".[283] In 1998, Microsoft would acquire the right to use Collier's Encyclopedia content from Atlas Editions, and would incorporate Collier's Encyclopedias content into its Encarta digital multimedia encyclopedia, which would be marketed until 2009.[284] English
1949 General knowledge (biased content) The Soviet Union’s Council of Ministers decrees that the Bolshaia Sovetskaia Entsiklopediia (Great Soviet Encyclopedia) “must show with exhaustive completeness the superiority of Socialist culture over the culture of the capitalist world.” This work includes or excludes famous Russians according to the state of their acceptance or condemnation by the government.[1]:126 Russian
1954 Specific content (performing arts) The Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo (Encyclopedia of Performing Arts) is first published.[285] An Italian language specialty encyclopedia of performing arts, it is first edited by Silvio D'Amico. It would be last published in 1965. Italian
1955 General knowledge The Enciclopedia Labor is published both in Spain and Argentina. Beginning to appear in nine volumes, it prioritizes Spanish and Latin American matters. It is, however, lavishly illustrated with both color and halftone photographs as well as drawings.[1]:127 Spanish
1957 Specific content (biography) The Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950 is released. Published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, it is a dictionary of biographical entries for individuals who have contributed to the history of Austria.[286] German
1962 General knowledge The American Oxford Encyclopedia is published in New York, with 14 volumes.[1]:1965 English
1962 General knowledge Příruční slovník naučný is first published in Czechoslovakia as a four-volume encyclopedia. It is created by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences with the goal of replacing the older Otto's encyclopedia with a new work that aligns with the political views of the Communist Party of the country at the time. The encyclopedia includes a significant amount of favorable information about the worldwide communist movement, its leaders, and countries of the Eastern Bloc. The main editor is Vladimír Procházka and each volume consists of 800 to 900 pages of densely printed text. All organizations in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia would be required to purchase the encyclopedia, and tens of thousands of copies would be printed.[287][288][289] Czech
1963 General knowledge The Concise Bulgarian Encyclopedia (Кратка българска енциклопедия) is first published as a comprehensive five-volume encyclopedia prepared by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It includes about 25,000 articles covering all areas of knowledge, explained from a Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.[290] In the preface to the final fifth volume, the encyclopedia's compilers call it "the first universal encyclopedia of socialist Bulgaria".[291] Over 4600 articles (1/4 of the total material) are related to Bulgaria. There are 4623 biographical articles, 7472 illustrations, and 465 maps.[292][293] Bulgarian
1967 Philosophy The Encyclopedia of Philosophy is first published. Edited by Paul Edwards, it covers both Eastern and Western philosophy. The book encompasses ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy, and explores the ideas of mathematicians, physicists, biologists, sociologists, psychologists, moral reformers, and religious thinkers that have influenced philosophy.[294] English
1978 General knowledge The Encyclopedia of China (Chinese: 中国大百科全书; pinyin: Zhōngguó Dà Bǎikē Quánshū; lit. 'China Great Encyclopedia') is released.[295] It is the first large-entry modern encyclopedia in the Chinese language.[296] Chinese
1980 General knowledge The Academic American Encyclopedia is first published[297] as a 21-volume general English-language encyclopedia. It is first produced by Arête Publishing, the American subsidiary of the Dutch publishing company VNU (later acquired by Nielsen Media Research in 1999).[298] English
1982 Specific content (Middle Ages) The Dictionary of the Middle Ages is first published by the American Council of Learned Societies.[299][300] English
1983 Specific content (Japan) Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan is released.[301] It is a comprehensive English-language encyclopedia covering a broad range of topics on Japan. English
1983 Specific content (Islam) The Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia (CGIE) is founded in Tehran by Kazem Mousavi-Bojnourdi. Its goal is to prepare general and technical encyclopedias and compile reference and technical books related to Islam. The center undertakes scientific departments in various fields, and scientific projects are conducted based on the Scientific Higher Council and technical councils' approvals. It provides research resources for writers of important scientific documents, and the topic-choosing department plays a prominent role in organizing the center's scientific activities.[302] The project, which provides comprehensive coverage of Shia Islam has sparked considerable interest in the Islamic world and is being consulted by many Persian-speaking scholars of Islamic studies.[303][304][305] Its online release, the Encyclopaedia Islamica Online, is automatically updated whenever a new volume has been published. New content is added every year in alphabetical order. Starting with the letter A in 2008, it is expected to be completed in 2028.[306] Persian, Arabic, English
1985 Specific content (Canadian history) The Canadian Encyclopedia (L'Encyclopédie canadienne) is released.[307] It is the national encyclopedia of Canada, published online by the Toronto-based historical organization Historica Canada, with the support of Canadian Heritage. English, French
1987 Specific content (Indian literature) The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature is released.[308] It is a multi-volume English language encyclopedia of Indian literature published by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.[309] English
1989 Specific content (Morocco) Ma'lamat al-Maghrib (Encyclopedia of Morocco) is released.[310] It is an encyclopedia of Morocco produced by the Moroccan Association for Composition, Translation, and Publication (الجمعية المغربية للتأليف والترجمة والنشر) and published by Salé Press.[311][312][313][314][315] Arabic
1992 Specific content (ethics) The Encyclopedia of Ethics is released.[316] English
1993 General knowledge Encarta is released by Microsoft.[317] A pioneering product in the field of digital reference tools, it introduces several new features, including a range of multimedia content, such as images, sound clips, videos, and interactive maps; search functionality, which notably includes references with hyperlinking; regular updates; user-friendly interface; and learning activities, such as quizzes and games. Encarta would play a significant role in the decline of traditional print encyclopedias, including Britannica, as a print encyclopedia requires a significant investment to purchase. In contrast, Encarta is introduced as a much cheaper and more accessible product. All these features making it a more engaging encyclopedia would make it a more attractive option for many users. As a result, Britannica would not able to compete with Encarta, and its sales would decline.[318] English
1993 General knowledge The concept of a free encyclopedia begins with the Interpedia proposal on Usenet, which outlines an Internet-based online encyclopedia to which anyone could submit content and that would be freely accessible.[319] English
1994 Specific content (Scotland) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland is first published.[320] The first edition contains about a million words, nearly five hundred illustrations, and has 126 contributors, ranging from Derick Thomson to David Steel, from Alan Bold to Neil MacCormick and from Joy Hendry to Sir William Macpherson of Cluny. It has four thousand individual entries, and an index indicating further references in other articles.[321] English
1994 General knowledge Den Store Danske Encyklopædi (The Great Danish Encyclopedia) is released. It is the most comprehensive contemporary Danish language encyclopedia. The 20 volumes of the encyclopedia would be published successively between 1994 and 2001.[322] Danish
1994 (July) General knowledge An analysis in the US concludes that, in the year, CD-ROM encyclopedias are expected to outsell print encyclopedias by a large margin due to the lower cost and convenience of having 20 to 25 volumes on a single disk. This shift towards digital technology becomes a concern for traditional media companies who at the time struggle to adapt their business models. Encyclopedias companies, such as World Book and Britannica, are caught in a dilemma as they rely on direct sales, employing sales representatives to sell print sets of their encyclopedias. If they switch to selling cheaper CD-ROMs, their direct sales force may walk away, and they could lose millions of dollars in the short term. To address the competition, they start offering CD-ROM versions of their encyclopedias as a bonus for buyers of the print set.[323] The published notes that Encarta quickly usurped the competition.[324] English
1995 (January) General knowledge The Project Gutenberg starts to publish the ASCII text of the Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition (1911), but disagreement about the method would halt the work after the first volume.[325]:{{{1}}}
1995 Philosophy The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is launched. Maintained by Stanford University, it combines an online encyclopedia of philosophy with peer-reviewed publication of original papers in philosophy, freely accessible to Internet users.[326][327] It coordinates with scholars worldwide who specialize in philosophy and its related fields to produce and keep an updated reference resource.[328] English
1995 Philosophy The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) is launched.[329] is a scholarly online encyclopedia, dealing with philosophy, philosophical topics, and philosophers.[330] It combines open access publication with peer reviewed publication of original papers. Generally, individuals are requested to contribute, and those who do so are acknowledged as distinguished and preeminent specialists in their respective fields on a global scale.[331][332] English
1996 Specific content (Japan) Le Japon: Dictionnaire et Civilisation is released, covering a broad range of topics on Japan.[333] It would be later translated in English as Japan Encyclopedia.[334] French
1996 General knowledge The Global Arabic Encyclopedia is released.[335] It is in part a translation of the American World Book Encyclopedia, edited and expanded to reflect an Arab–Muslim perspective. Arabic
1997 Specific content (human sexuality) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality is released.[336] English
1998 General knowledge (Arab world) The Arab Encyclopedia is first published in Syria. It is an encyclopedia in 24 volumes in the Arabic language.[337] Arabic
1998 Specific content (art, aesthetics) The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics is released by Oxford University Press.[338] It is an encyclopedia covering philosophical, historical, sociological, and biographical aspects of Art and Aesthetics worldwide. The second edition (2014) is now available online as part of Oxford Art Online.[339][340] English
1998 Specific content (philosophy) Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is released by Rutledge.[341] English
1999 Specific content (Korea) The The Encyclopaedia of Korea is released.[342] It is the first comprehensive English language encyclopedia of Korea that covers multifarious fields of information on Korea. English
1999 (November) Mathematics MathWorld is launched as an encyclopedia project by Eric W. Weisstein after reaching an agreement with CRC Press to publish his encyclopedia as a book, titled the CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics. In 2000, Weisstein becomes the encyclopedist at Wolfram Research, Inc., and the website is renamed "MathWorld" and made public in December. However, MathWorld is taken offline in March 2000 after Weisstein and Wolfram Research are sued by the CRC Press for infringing their copyright. The project would be made available to the public again after a settlement with the CRC Press outside of the court.[343] The PlanetMath project would be launched as a result of MathWorld's being unavailable.[344] English
2001 (January 15) General knowledge Wikipedia is launched as a free, open-source, multilingual online encyclopedia. It is first created as a single English-language edition. The articles are written collaboratively by volunteers from around the world and the goal of Wikipedia is to provide a neutral and reliable source of information. The website is created by Jimmy Wales and initially intended to be a business for profit, but it later adopts a policy of "neutral point-of-view". Wikipedia would quickly become one of the most popular websites in the world. In January 2007, it would be ranked #9 in the United States with 42.9 million unique visitors. In 2014, it would receive eight billion page views per month and have 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors per month according to Comscore. By the end of 2016, it would be ranked the fifth most popular website globally. Wikipedia would revolutionize the concept of an encyclopedia by creating an online platform that is freely editable by anyone. This results in a more diverse and constantly updated collection of information, accessible to anyone with internet access. The community implements policies to mitigate potential issues such as inaccurate or biased information. Overall, Wikipedia would have a significant impact on the world of knowledge and information. English, followed by 328 languages
2001 (March 16) General knowledge German Wikipedia is launched.[345] It is the second-oldest Wikipedia (after the English Wikipedia), and with over 2,700,000 articles as of 2023, the third-largest edition of Wikipedia by number of articles, behind English Wikipedia and the mostly bot-generated Cebuano Wikipedia.[346] German
2001 (March 23) General knowledge French Wikipedia is launched.[347] As of February 2023, it is the fifth-largest Wikipedia edition, with over 2,400,000 articles.[346] French
2001 (May 11) General knowledge Spanish Wikipedia is launched.[348] As of February 2023, it is the eighth-largest Wikipedia edition, with over 1,800,000 articles.[346] Spanish
2001 (May 11) General knowledge Italian Wikipedia is launched.[349] In 2009, it would be awarded the Premiolino, the oldest and most prestigious Italian journalism prize, in the new media category.[350] Italian
2001 (May 20) General knowledge Russian Wikipedia is launched.[351] As of February 2023, it is the seventh-largest Wikipedia edition, with almost 1,900,000 articles.[346] Russian
2001 (May 23) General knowledge Swedish Wikipedia is launched.[352] As of February 2023, it is the fourth-largest Wikipedia edition, with over 2,500,000 articles.[346] Swedish
2001 (June 19) General knowledge Dutch Wikipedia is launched.[353] As of February 2023, it is the sixth-largest Wikipedia edition, with over 2,100,000 articles.[346] Dutch
2001 Mathematics PlanetMath is released as a free, collaborative, mathematics online encyclopedia.[354] Launched as a result of MathWorld being unavailable, it operates under different principles and practices. While MathWorld's terms of use prohibit the creation of archival copies, PlanetMath routinely releases snapshots of their content for download. Additionally, users are authorized and even encouraged to duplicate, replicate, disseminate, print, modify, and repurpose PlanetMath's content for commercial or any other objective, provided that any derivative works are published under the same license as PlanetMath, allowing downstream users the same rights.[344] English
2001 Specific content (History, American studies) The Encyclopedia of American Studies is released.[355] Published by Johns Hopkins University Press in collaboration with the American Studies Association (ASA), it covers a range of topics in American Studies, from pre-colonial times to the present day, from a diverse and interdisciplinary perspective. With over 800 searchable articles and additional resources such as bibliographies, illustrations, and related web links, the Encyclopedia is considered the premier reference work for American Studies. The content is publicly accessible but subject to copyright protection. Users can find information on the terms and conditions of site use by following a link provided.[356] English
2001 (September 18) General knowledge Simple English Wikipedia is launched.[357] It is a modified English-language edition of Wikipedia, written primarily in Basic English and Learning English.[358] English
2002 Specific content (music) The Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon is released. It is a five-volume music encyclopedia founded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences' Commission for Music Research.[359] German
2003 Specific content (Ethiopia, Eritrea) The Encyclopaedia Aethiopica is released.[360] It focuses on Ethiopian and Eritrean studies, covering fields such as anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, history, geography, language, literature, art, religion, culture, and basic data. The main audience is academic, but the articles are also readable by non-specialists. The encyclopedia is published in five volumes and is illustrated with maps and photographs. The authorship and editorial team is based at the University of Hamburg in Germany and is supported by international experts and supervisors. The EAe is funded by various foundations and the University of Hamburg. This encyclopedia would receive critical acclaim and would be described as the most important systematic work in the field of Ethiopian studies.[361] English
2003 General knowledge The Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite is published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.[362] It would be available until 2015. The DVD contains over 100,000 articles, an atlas, around 35,000 media files, a dictionary and thesaurus. It would receive the 2004 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers.[363] It is not officially supported on the Linux operating system, but a script is provided to run the 2004 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD on Linux with some limitations.[364] English
2003 (June 5) Dictionary The Free Dictionary is launched. It is an American online dictionary and encyclopedia that aggregates information from various sources.[365] English
2004 General knowledge English Wikipedia becomes the world's largest encyclopedia at the 300,000 article stage.[366] English
2005 (January) General knowledge An article comparing Encarta Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica, concludes that they cater to different market segments, and both have their strengths and weaknesses. The Encarta is more suitable for children and young adults, with a focus on fun-filled browsing and multimedia content, while the Britannica is better geared towards professionals and offers more in-depth coverage of topics. According to the publication, both encyclopedias have a vast amount of information, and users can find it challenging to navigate and effectively use them. The encyclopedias have some minor gripes, such as outdated dictionaries and thesauri and hogging computer resources.[367] English
2005 (June 22) General knowledge Cebuano Wikipedia is launched. It contains over 6 million articles, most of which were created by the automated program Lsjbot.[346][368] Cebuano
2005 (November) Specific content (Indian history and culture) Encyclopedia of India is released.[369] It is a four-volume encyclopedia on Indian history and culture under editor-in-chief Stanley Wolpert. English
2005 (December) General knowledge A study published in the journal Nature finds that Wikipedia is about as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, with both sources having a similar number of serious errors in their articles. The study chose articles from both sites in a wide range of topics and sent them to field experts for peer review. The experts then compared the competing articles, but were not told which article came from which site. Among 42 entries tested, the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies, while Britannica had about three. The study reveals numerous errors in both encyclopedias, but the difference in accuracy is found to be not particularly significant.[370][371] English
2006 Specific content (Earth) Encyclopedia of Earth is released[372] as an electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The Encyclopedia is described as a free, fully searchable collection of articles written by scholars, professionals, educators, and other approved experts, who collaborate and review each other's work. The articles are written in non-technical language and are intended to be useful to students, educators, scholars, and professionals, as well as to the general public. The authors, editors, and even copy editors are attributed on the articles with links to biographical pages on those individuals.[373] English
2006 General knowledge (online encyclopedia) Baidu Baike is launched.[374] Also known as Baidu Wiki[375]), it is a semi-regulated Chinese-language collaborative online encyclopedia owned by the Chinese technology company Baidu.[376] While it promotes the idea of equality and collaboration among users, there are some restrictions on users' editing permissions and some content can only be edited by Baidu officials.[377][378] Chinese
2007 (February 16) General knowledge Marefa is launched.[379] It is a not-for-profit online encyclopedia project that uses the wiki system to provide a free Arabic encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia. Arabic
2008 (February 26) Specific content (life) The Encyclopedia of Life is first published.[380] It is a free, online encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living species known to science. It is compiled from existing trusted databases curated by experts and with the assistance of non-experts throughout the world.[381][382] It aims to build one "infinitely expandable" page for each species, including video, sound, images, graphics, as well as text.[383] English
2009 (January 2) Specific content (agriculture) Agropedia is launched as an online knowledge repository for information related to agriculture in India.[384] English, Hindi
2009 (March) General knowledge Microsoft announces that it would be discontinuing Encarta encyclopedia, citing the overwhelming popularity of Wikipedia. The former becomes unable to compete with the free and collaborative nature of Wikipedia, which by this time is the leading encyclopedia on the web. Microsoft acknowledges that people were seeking and consuming information in different ways and that the category of traditional encyclopedias had changed. Encarta's affiliated web sites would close later in the year, with the software being removed from stores as well.[385] English
2009 Specific content (holocaust studies) The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 is released.[386] It is a seven-part encyclopedia series that explores the history of the concentration camps, ghettos, forced-labor camps, and other sites of detention, persecution, or state-sponsored murder run by Nazi Germany and other Axis powers in Europe and Africa. English
2010 Specific content (clothing, fashion) The Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion is released.[387] It is a comprehensive reference book that delves into the history of clothing and body adornment across cultures. It examines the connection between dressing and personal and social identity, and its ten volumes focus on exploring dress and fashion in various regions around the world. The volumes are structured based on geography, and the final volume provides a global overview of current and future trends in the field of dress and fashion through research and analysis.[388] English
2010 Specific content (public health) The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Arabic Health Encyclopedia is released.[389] It is an Arabic public health encyclopedia. It is created by the King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS) in collaboration with the Saudi Association for Health Informatics (SAHI). Medical content is added by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) and the National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA).[390] Arabic
2010 Specific content (motherhood) The Encyclopedia of Motherhood is published.[391] It is a comprehensive, specialized encyclopedia of all issues relevant to motherhood, published by SAGE Publications in three volumes (700 entries). Its General Editor is Andrea O'Reilly.[392] English
2012 (March) General knowledge After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica discontinues its print version, focusing on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools. The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition. By this time, Wikipedia has largely overtaken print reference books. Despite this, the Britannica retains some competitiveness due to its prestigious sources, its carefully edited entries and the trust tied to the brand.[393] English
2012 Specific content (conifers) The Encyclopedia of Conifers is published.[394] This 1,500-page reference book, in two volumes, includes information on 8,000 cultivars of conifers, over 5,000 photographs, and all 615 known species of conifers, as well as their subspecies and varieties.[395] English
2012 Specific content (Islamic Jurisprudence) The Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence is released.[396] It is the biggest encyclopedia authored and published in Arabic language by the Kuwait Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.[397] Also known as the Mausua Fiqhiya Kuwaitiya, it is a project that began in 1965 and was completed in 2005. Many Islamic scholars contributed to the project, which was organized in alphabetical order and published in 45 volumes with a total of 17,650 pages. It covers the Islamic Jurisprudence of all four major Islamic schools of thought. The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs in Kuwait also made the work available as a CD and mobile app.[398][399] Arabic
Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) Mausua Fiqhiya Kuwaitiya ফিকহ বিশ্বকোষ মাওসূ‘আতুল ফিক الموسوعة الفقهية الكوتيتية موسوعہ فقہیہ، کویت.jpg
2012 Specific content (Hinduism) The Encyclopedia of Hinduism is released.[400] It is a comprehensive, multi-volume, English language encyclopedia of Hinduism, comprising Sanātana Dharma, a Sanskrit phrase, meaning "the eternal law", or the "eternal way", that is used to refer to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.[401] English
2013 Specific content (ethics) The International Encyclopedia of Ethics is released.[402] It is an 11-volume encyclopedia of ethics edited by Hugh LaFollette. The encyclopedia is given Honorable Mention in competition for the Best Reference Work of 2013 by the Research User Services Association.[403] English
2017 Specific content (christianity) The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States is released.[404] It is a five-volume encyclopedia published by Rowman & Littlefield and edited by George Thomas Kurian and Mark A. Lamport.[405] The work is a comprehensive reference work about the history of Christianity in the United States.[406] English
2017 (September) General knowledge According to an analysis, the total (desktop + mobile) human English Wikipedia page views peaked around late 2013 and declined by about 20% since then. Other language Wikipedias, including German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and French, show similar trends. The decline is believed to be due to increased reliance on social media and search engine algorithm changes.[407] A 2015 study by the same author already notices The decline in Wikipedia pageviews for popular pages since as early as 2010.[408] Multiple

Numerical and visual data

Google trends

The chart below shows Google trends data for Encyclopedia (topic) from January 2004 to September 2022, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[409]

Encyclopedia GT.png

The chart below shows Google trends data for Wikipedia (search term) from January 2004 to September 2022, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map. As of 2022, Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia ever assembled.[410]

Wikipedia GT.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for both "encyclopedia" and "cyclopedia" terms, from 1700 to 2019.[411]

Encyclopedia NG.PNG

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

Base literature:

  • A History of Information Storage and Retrieval by Foster Stockwell.[1]
  • Genealogy of Popular Science: From Ancient Ecphrasis to Virtual Reality by Jesús Muñoz Morcillo and Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha
  • Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance, by Jason König and Greg Woolf

The initial version of the timeline was written by Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:


What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


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  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 König, Jason; Woolf, Greg (17 October 2013). Encyclopaedism from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-47089-7. 
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